We invite you to view the video below to meet three curious polar bears that investigate the cable of the Canadian GEOTRACES clean sampling system during the 2015 GEOTRACES Arctic expedition.
The video was taken by Kathryn Purdon (undergraduate student, University of Victoria, Canada) on September 16, 2015, near 75 N 150 W in the middle of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. The ship was located far from sea ice and land. Indeed, Arctic sea ice extent was the fourth lowest on record this year and there has been speculation that this imposes stress on polar bears which rely on the ice to hunt. They tested out the cable (which is made of a synthetic fiber similar to kevlar that is used in bulletproof vests) with their teeth. In the end the cable survived intact. The equipment was retrieved as quickly and safely as possible so the ship could move off and give the bears their space (click here to discover the equipment being deployed).
If you want to learn more about this history, please visit Prof. Jay Cullen Lab’s webpage.